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February 3, 2019

Where Flesch’s (1955) ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read’ stole the headlines, it was Terman and Walcutt’s ‘Reading Chaos and Cure’ (1958) that rationalised Flesch’s (1955) raw polemic with scholarly analysis.  Their systematic deconstruction of Gestalt theory’s assumption that a child learns from wholes to parts as related to reading concluded with the resolution that an illogical union had been forged between the theory and the study of e...

January 4, 2019

References

References

Adams, F. and Gray, L. (1949). Teaching children to read. New York: Ronald Press.

Adams, M. and Bruck, M. (1993). Word recognition: The interface of educational policies and scientific research. Reading and Writing, 5(2), pp.113-139.

Adoniou, M. (2017). Misplaced faith in phonics and the phonics screening check. Education Journal, 313, pp.25-27.

Allen, W. (1989). Vox Latina. Cambridge, GBR: Cambridge University...

January 3, 2019

Information processing theory attempts to articulate the unobservable through models that illustrate a cognitive-processing perspective on the processing, storage and retrieval of information (Tracey and Morrow, 2012).  It is vital to the understanding of the process of learning to read and being taught to read because implicit in the theory is the understanding that any cognitive activity has a process associated with it.  The...

December 9, 2018

By 1955, the American academic elite had come to an almost universal conclusion: phonics was dangerous. In that year the most eminent publication on reading instruction, ‘The Reading Teacher’ in its editorial penned by the ‘distinguished’ (Terman and Walcutt, 1958 p110) Emmett Betts concluded that children taught by a phonics approach ‘can call words but cannot read…’ (1955, p2).  Phonics instruction was almost completely discar...

November 25, 2018

Although educational research was in its infancy in the early decades of the twentieth century there was sufficient concern and curiosity from both teachers and universities as to the veracity of whole word methods versus phonics that a number of rudimentary studies were conducted.  The majority of these studies compared phonic and non-phonic approaches to the teaching of reading and had little concern with the actual programmes...

October 23, 2018

Huey’s (1908) ‘scientific’ proof that phonic instruction was a superfluous, torpid stage of reading development resulted in a revival of whole-word reading methods.  Phonics was not entirely expunged from reading education but was exiled to the peripheries of instruction as a post facto analytical intervention.  Along with Dewey’s influential environment-driven approach to child learning, the course away from early phonics instr...

October 14, 2018

Edmund Burke Huey was the most influential writer on reading instruction in the twentieth century.  His bestselling ‘The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading’ (1908) stopped the phonic method of teaching in its tracks.  His pedagogical alliance with John Dewey has probably done more harm to children attempting to learn how to read English than any other development in reading instruction.  Their legacy still reverberates to this d...

October 2, 2018

The word method of teaching reading dominated instruction methods for a century with its word lists and flash cards and repeated vocabulary and culminated in the seemingly rational mutation into Goodman’s (1971) whole language approach.  It was only the glaring, incontrovertible fact that the millions of children taught by this method were unable to read that finally brought this edifice crashing down – 60% of Californian nine a...

September 21, 2018

Is there anyone out there whose heart does not sink at the thought of setting performance management objectives?Is there anyone who does not stare at the blank document and die a thousand silent deaths?  Is there anyone out there who thinks that the performance management process helps them to teach their children better and make them cleverer?  Is there anyone out there who knows how to make the system work…and that doesn’t mea...

September 1, 2018

By the late nineteenth century in the United States the vice-like grip of the whole-word method on initial reading instruction and the reliance on the McGuffy Reader was starting to diminish as the long-term effects of the method were starting to become evident.  Pupils made apparently huge initial strides in reading fluency in the early grades, but as Smith notes from a contemporary journal ‘…pupils in the higher grades are not...

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